We’ve covered Caroline Spence in the past, so when I first heard about this album I casually thought I would check it out. I eventually ran across one of the songs on Spotify and was floored. There’s real musical mojo between these two and it makes for an album that feels like a “moment.” It released in 2018, but we’re happy to cover it in early 2019.
The lyrics on “Holding You” are unapologetically romantic. It’s perfect for a nice slow dance for couples who enjoy folk music. There’s an authenticity in the blending of voices and the production of the track. What it lacks it glitz and glamor it makes up for in feeling “real,” like a good relationship.
“All on the table” is an honest song that reminds me a bit of the work of Anna Tivel. It’s got this classic country spirit to it. I can’t help but be pulled into an emotional connection, especially when Hecht’s vocal harmonies come in. There’s something hair-standing-on-end good about Hecht’s high tenor coming in along with Spence’s lead. These two… can sing with conviction.
The romance in “A Night Together” is evident from the start. The harmonies feel timeless and the lyrics remind me of the good old days when people still used metaphor and allusion in songwriting. As a married man with little kids at home, this “we need a night out” sentiment hits me in an existential place. It’s beautifully articulated and artfully refreshing. “The best part about taking you out is taking you back home with me.” Mmhmm. It’s about time someone romanticizes romance instead of just hook up culture.
There’s something to the chord structure on “Over You” that reminds me of early James Taylor. Hecht’s vocal on this one has a different kind of resonance to it, allowing it to soar a bit more. When the strings enter, it immediately feels more cinematic and poignant. Spence’s harmony vocal takes it to another level. This is the kind of song that shows how a duet can punctuate the meaning of a song. It’s impossible to sing along to this; you just have to listen (and maybe cry).
The penultimate track “Trying” has a nice, bold strum style to set the mood. It puts me in mind of a singer songwriter I loved years ago named Jennifer Knapp. Spence’s lead vocal on this one has that characteristic charm that simply cuts through the air. The message is one of striving for success in a relationship. It’s amazing how much being on the same team can help preserve a relationship. This song conveys that truth really well.
The closer is a live version of “Parallel Lives.” This is really where listeners can hear the magic in the way these two vocals blend. While the harmonies are all good on this album, this one feels more organic and therefore more convincing. If you’ve ever dreamed of “what could have been” with a past relationship, this song is for you.
I love this album because it does such an incredible job of capturing real human moments. There’s a sweetness to several of the songs, conveying real love. Yet the songs also have this deep, rewarding historicity to them, culling on the work of bygone songwriters like Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, or more recent folk artists. It’s a must listen album for fans of folk and roots country music.